After Years Of Fighting It, Trump Has Been Told By Judges That He Has To Turn Over His Tax Returns
President Donald Trump has been saying for years that he would release his tax returns, but he just kept putting it off. When he first began his presidential campaign, GOP and Democratic candidates insisted he release his tax information in a bid to be completely transparent. Trump always maintained that he was under an audit and would release them when the audit was complete. Well, the audit turned out to be one big lie, and when all was said and done, Trump still didn’t release his tax returns. In August, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office finally said enough is enough and sued to get Trump’s tax returns in order to see his financial dealings in particular concerning Stormy Daniels. You may recall the adult film star said she was paid to be quiet about her affair with Trump, and his former lawyer Michael Cohen confirmed it was true after his arrest. Trump, however, said it was all hoax, but the law is still the law, and we’re a little close to seeing Trump’s tax receipts.
Today, a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court Appeals all ruled that Trump’s tax return isn’t protected just because he is the president and can still be investigated. So his lawyers have to turn over his taxes to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
“After reviewing historical and legal precedent, we conclude only that presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce non-privileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the President,” Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert Katzmann wrote, in an opinion joined by Judges Denny Chin and Christopher Droney, POLITICO reports.
Jay Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, will reportedly appeal this decision, which means it will now go to the Supreme Court. And you may recall, Trump has more friends at the highest court.
“The decision of the Second Circuit will be taken to the Supreme Court,” Sekulow said, according to NBC News. “The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our Republic. The constitutional issues are significant.”
There are nine judges on the Supreme Court. After Trump’s appointee, Brett Kavanaugh was allowed to join the Supreme Court last year after he publicly testified that he did not partake in any sexual assaults in college. Now Trump has more conservative-leaning judges which could work in his favor when this tax case makes it to their courtroom.
The matter at hand is that Cyrus Vance, head of the Manhattan D.A., wants to investigate whether Trump committed illegal acts when he allegedly paid off two women using campaign money.
If Trump is in the clear and did not use campaign money to keep two women quiet about an alleged affair, why is he trying to keep his financial records from being investigated? According to his lawyers, it’s not about that at all, it’s about protecting the president and future president’s from being indicted
The judges ruled that Trump’s taxes were fair game because the Manhattan D.A. wasn’t calling to subpoena the president, but rather his accounting firm.
“This appeal does not require us to consider whether the president is immune from indictment and prosecution while in office, nor to consider whether the president may lawfully be ordered to produce documents for use in a state criminal proceeding,” the judges said in their ruling opinion.
One of the many reasons why Trump is trying to keep his financial records secret is not because they may be incriminating but rather because they could show the fraudulent financial dealings of his father, their loss of billions, and perhaps their withholding of taxes.
Earlier this year, the New York Times released stories that exposed Trump’s father, Fred Trump, paid “remarkably little in taxes to the Treasury Department,” back in the ’80s. The stories also showed how they became so-called giants in real estate. As Vox explained, “[The stories} also indicate some potentially illegal activity as Fred Trump sought to pass wealth tax-free to Donald and his siblings. The statute of limitations has passed, however, and Trump’s sister, a federal judge, abruptly retired in February, ensuring there would be no judicial ethics investigation either.”
Trump has yet to comment on the latest ruling concerning his taxes.